Loss and Alienation from the Other Side of the Mask
Asian Conference on the Arts and Humanities
...is the first verse of The Other Side of the Mask, a poem by the author and basis for his installation of the same name. This paper addresses themes of personal loss and alienation portrayed in this and two of his recent installations, Attrition and Contrition.
The Other Side. . . . filled a gallery subdivided into seven areas. Two isolated rooms had polished exteriors, but coarse interiors, like public vs. personal personae. One entered through mask-enshrouded doors having monitors for "eyes." Contradictory videos looped with positive images projected outward, negative inward (e.g. pristine Arabian seashores vs. polluted Venetian canals). These rooms served as islands of isolation for seated researchers who could be seen, but could not see out.
Attrition and Contrition were inspired by a trip to a landfill outside the Murano Glassworks in Venice. Fragments of once-buried art-glass broke through the surface in imperfect second comings, not unlike breathless bones rising in Ezekiel. Attrition centered on a photo from the visit; Contrition employed its inverse.
Intermingling religious references appear throughout. In Attrition, Islamic names for Allah are born aloft by spirit-like forms from a canvas-mat. These lead to a 4-meter diameter mandala-like canopy baring Hebrew names for God. In Contrition calipers lift figurative souls from private purgatories baring ex-voto offerings engraved with images of loss and alienation. Christian calls for mercy are heard through The Other Side . . . as choirs sing a Kyrie Eleison and Miserere composed by the author and recorded at a chapel in a Tuscany. All address hope through universal harmony, like the Golden Mean and Fibonacci sequence and express loss through fading rainbows.
Loss and Alienation from the ‘Other Side of the Mask’. Abstract published in proceedings, Asian Conference on the Arts and Humanities, Osaka, Japan. Apr 6-8.